Newsletter #3

FIRST Championship News

Check out our accomplishments at the Blue Alliance

[A message from Senior Mentor John Ballou]

Dear GMHS Robotics Community, 

As you know, FRC Team 1418 played well at the Chesapeake District
and lasted through the quarter-finals last weekend.  This
was an important experience for our team. They proved once again that
they can score with the best, and perform well, over and over again
with only rare technical hitches, unlike many teams who labored to
stay in the game over three days of extremely hard-hitting matches. We
also realized we have much to learn about defense, the one dimension
of this game we have yet to master.

Our students were cool calm and collected on and off the field. They
held their poise through the ups and downs of twelve qualifying
matches. We accumulated the highest score for cargo of any team on the
field (357 points and an offensive power rating of 30.3, the seventh
best at the district level), ending with nine wins, two losses, and a
tie. Along the way we played with FRC Team 977, the Cometbots from
South Boston, VA and FRC Team 2199, the Robo-Lions from Finksburg, MD
to win the high score of the entire weekend (111 points in qualifying
match 21). As luck would have it, this became our 4th seeded alliance
in the playoffs, where we, unfortunately, lost in the quarterfinals to
the 5th seeded alliance, which eventually won the championship.

During these finals, the opposition was able to shut us down by
pinning us away from the scoring structures. They came after us
immediately after the sandstorm autonomous period and kept us
corralled in a very effective manner. We won the first match by a
penalty and lost the ensuing two primarily from not having any
effective defensive bot on our alliance. We were all designed for
speed and agility, not pushing strength.  We will be keeping this in
mind as we try our skills in Detroit next week.

Updated to include FIRST Championship News:

GM’s robotics team 1418 survived a long weekend of heavy competition
in Detroit, MI at the FIRST World Championship. Fortune smiled on us
Thursday, ranking Vae Victis # 3 out 68 teams in the Daly Division;
she even smiled at us for the first match on Friday. Unfortunately, we
then found a big fat ‘kick me’ sign on our backs as we became the
special focus of every defense an alliance could throw at us for the
rest of the tournament.

We have learned a great deal this season, especially a thing or two
about maneuvering around defenders. Over the last four matches with
alliance partners less suited to our approach to the game, we
plummeted from rank #3 to being ranked #46 at the end of the
qualifying rounds. Our stats were good. We achieved some of the
highest scores in our division, but our season ended with no buy-in to
the finals.  Our young team now has a clearer idea of what it takes to
compete at this level consistently. The team is already making plans
for researching new mechanisms and sensors that can elevate us to the
big leagues, and give Lady Luck less chance to thwart our hopes. We
are relieved to be at the end of a long season that began the first
week in January, a season that pushed us hard, but not without moments
of glory and excellence.

We want to thank the Falls Church City Schools, our sponsors, our
families and supporters for everything that made this a great season
and a learning experience that truly merits the billing “The Hardest
Fun You Will Ever Have”.

John D. Ballou

Senior Mentor, FRC Team 1418

George Mason High School


1418 Vae Victis | FIRST District Championships Qualification Match #21 | 2019

Highest Scoring Matches without penalties! Produced by FIRSTChesapeake
FIRST CHAMPIONSHIPS Image Credit: Team Member Rachel

1418 Vae Victis | FIRST Championships Daly Division Qualification Match #20 | 2019

Produced by FIRST

1418 Vae Victis | FIRST Championships Daly Division Qualification Match #60 | 2019

Produced by FIRST

Caught on the web!

Several of the GMHS Faculty and Friends and Family showed their support for Team 1418. We appreciate you!
Team 1418 Thanks the ALUMNI MENTORS! Eliott is always ready to help in the pit and Abhijit helped with the driving! They both help the team by sharing their lessons learned from their past years with FIRST and Vae Vicitis. They help support the legacy of 1418!

Past Fundraising Events

Thanks everyone that came out to support the Spring Bake Sale at the Farmers Market. At this event the team earned $579.00.
We raised some dough at the Flippn' Pizza fundraiser.  The team 50% of the evening take that equaled $557.48. Thanks to Mr. & Mrs. Updike for arranging this event.

Upcoming Fundraising Events

BID on an Auction Item at the Falls Church Education Foundation Gala and Auction on May 17th
Team 1418 Friends and Family –
The Falls Church Education Foundation Annual Gala and Auction is in 2 weeks.  The Foundation is allowing the robotics team to include an auction item in the Live auction, the proceeds of which will go to Team 1418 .  The Gaskins Family has generously agreed to allow us to auction their Outer Banks, NC beach home (see the description below) for use this Fall (thanks for contacting them Elizabeth Boesen!).  Additional photos are attached. 
Please consider bidding on the house and/or forward this email to anyone that you think would be interested in bidding.  Would love to maximize the auction price to benefit the team.   The team is already talking about getting lighter/more powerful components (ie, more expensive!) for next year’s robot, so this money will be put to very good use.
Debbie Hiscott, the FCEF Executive Director, is hoping to have good attendance from robotics families this year, so please consider joining us.  It’s always a fun evening.
Please contact Tom Updike ( if you have any questions.
The Team will host another After School class at Thomas Jefferson Elementary called the Young STEMers with 1418. This outreach event also will rise money towards the team. The Baroody Camps has agreed to give 100% of the collected club fees to Team 1418. We will offer the class for six weeks on Thursdays.
TEAM 1418 will run the Robot in the Memorial Day walk and host a table to demo the 2019 competition bot.

Keeping up with FRC Team 1418

Find Out More
Copyright © 2019 Team 1418, All rights reserved.

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